2015 Mar 16th

Ready, Set, Bid! The Race for Hoboken Condos

Hoboken Condos On Fire

I spent another weekend showing lovely condo properties to Hoboken buyers.  Once again, every place we visited had or was about to have multiple offers by the end of the weekend (or so said the listing agent, but that’s another story).  This scenario has become par for the course in the Hoboken condo market.  The usual way this plays out is that the seller instructs the listing agent to hold “final and best” by a certain time – say, 5pm on Tuesday.  This lets all the interested parties go home, write up an offer and submit their best bid by the deadline.  It’s most commonly a blind bidding process so one buyer doesn’t know what any of the other buyers are submitting.  The seller reviews all the bids with the listing agent after the deadline and selects the one with the combination of best price and most attractive terms.  Often times, today, a high cash component will trump a slightly higher sales price as it avoids issues down the line when the property doesn’t appraise for the agreed upon sales price.  The seller knows the buyer has the additional cash to complete the sale.

What was unusual this weekend was that one seller accepted an offer at 5pm on Saturday and wouldn’t even consider other offers.  Now, had I presented one anyway to the listing agent, under the NAR Code of Ethics, realtors are obligated to present all offers.  Had I gone through the effort to write it up and deliver it to the listing agent, he has to give it to the sellers.  But the seller can toss it in the trash.  The seller may have been happy with something about this offer – the price, the closing date, the down payment, who knows.  Not holding final and best or even waiting for other offers to come in on Sunday or Monday is the seller’s prerogative.

What I learned from this is now, not only should buyers be ready for a multiple-bid situation but they have to try to be first.  No more waiting until the end of the weekend to decide if they should make an offer.  Just get it out there and get it delivered before everyone else does so as not to be shut out.

How is a buyer supposed to make such a big decision in such a rushed manner?  Well, that’s where New Jersey is unique.  Our statutory “attorney review” period allows either party to change their mind during the 3 business day review period.  There doesn’t even have to be a reason to do so.  If a buyer likes a property and makes an offer immediately, even if it is accepted, the buyer can always back out.  Moral of the story – it pays to be first.

Having just recently made an offer on a property in Louisiana, I have to say I like their system much better.  You make your offer – with a 24 hour time limit for the seller to respond.  The seller counters in writing (we do it verbally) and again, I had 24 hours to either reject seller’s number, propose a new counter or accept.  The whole negotiation is done in writing with time limits.  It moves at a good pace and you know when you are going to hear back from the other party.  There is none of this “the seller is traveling” nonsense while they fish for other bids.  Once a meeting of the minds occurs, as evidenced by the written riders, the contract becomes binding.  No attorney review, no backing out, no dragging things on forever.  Clean and neat.  But not in New Jersey.

Happy Monday.  Have a great week.



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